- Paperback: 391 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (June 9, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375701907
- ISBN-13: 978-0375701900
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Straight Man: A Novel Paperback – June 9, 1998
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
First Jane Smiley came out of the comedy closet with Moo, a campus satire par excellence, and now Richard Russo has gotten in on the groves-of-academe game. Straight Man is hilarious sport, with a serious side. William Henry Devereaux Jr., is almost 50 and stuck forever as chair of English at West Central Pennsylvania University. It is April and fear of layoffs--even among the tenured--has reached mock-epic proportions; Hank has yet to receive his department budget and finds himself increasingly offering comments such as "Always understate necrophilia" to his writing students. Then there are his possible prostate problems and the prospect of his father's arrival. Devereaux Sr., "then and now, an academic opportunist," has always been a high-profile professor and a low-profile parent.
Though Hank tries to apply William of Occam's rational approach (choose simplicity) to each increasingly absurd situation, and even has a dog named after the philosopher, he does seem to cause most of his own enormous difficulties. Not least when he grabs a goose and threatens to off a duck (sic) a day until he gets his budget. The fact that he is also wearing a fake nose and glasses and doing so in front of a TV camera complicates matters even further. Hank tries to explain to one class that comedy and tragedy don't go together, but finds the argument "runs contrary to their experience. Indeed it may run contrary to my own." It runs decidedly against Richard Russo's approach in Straight Man, and the result is a hilarious and touching novel. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
William Henry Devereaux Jr. finds himself past midlife, chair of the English department at an academic backwater, not having produced a book in 20 years, embroiled in departmental politics, maybe about to lay off colleagues, maybe on the block himself. Much goes wrong, much of it hilarious. An insulted poet, for instance, smacks him with her notebook, the spiral binding of which pierces his nose, so that, sneezing, he sprays his white-suited boss with blood. Still, his relationships with his father, wife, daughter, and students occupy most of his time, until one day, wearing fake nose, glasses, and mustache, he threatens on TV to kill one of the campus ducks every day until his departmental budget is finalized, making the national morning talk shows. Pitched a couple notches more manic than Jon Hassler's otherwise similar Rookery Blues (LJ 4/15/96), this raises the usual questions about abridgments: Who is this character? Was that a reference to something excised? Nevertheless, this recording, aided by Hal Linden's bemused delivery, should enjoy the same popularity as the book.?John Hiett, Iowa City P.L.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
For good measure, these characters are lovingly drawn and sympathetic in the main. It's a nice book to have.
John Neufeld,author of
EDGAR ALLAN and LISA,BRIGHT AND DARK (both Kindled)
But Russo's novel is about far more than academia. At its heart, the book is about relationships Over the course of the story the man character negotiates complex encounters with his wife, his daughter, the English department secretary who wants to be a novelist, his fellow members of the English department and his mother and father. And in these dealings, he discovers who he is and what he really wants out of life. As with all of Richard Russo's novels this one is brilliantly written, almost poetic in spots, while it hones in on the human condition with all of its comedies and tragedies. A super read.
Devereaux also thinks he is in love with one young woman after another. But he loves only his wife, I think I loved him all while I was reading this story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
inappropriate use of question marks in...Read more